Privacy-centric search engine DuckDuckGo has slammed Google’s plans to implement third-party alternatives browser (opens in new tab) Cookies have enabled advertisers to track web user activity for years.
The company has revealed that it will block a proposed replacement, Federated Learning of Cohorts (FLoC), via both its search engine and Chrome browser extension.
The DuckDuckGo search engine disables FLoC functionality immediately, but an update to the browser extension allows users to manually opt out. However, extension updates are currently under review by Google, which scrutinizes all new additions to the Chrome Web Store.
Google FLoC Opposite
According to Google, the introduction of FLoC will allow people to benefit from higher levels of online privacy, but without destroying the underlying economics of the web.
The FLoC system is said to achieve this goal by grouping thousands of users with similar browsing habits. This preserves both an individual’s anonymity and the ability of advertisers to run targeted campaigns.
However, many different privacy advocates have expressed concerns about the new technology. Given that Google makes billions of dollars from online advertising every year, some question the purity of Google’s motives. Others believe that improvements in privacy standards are minimal and that FLoC will simply provide advertisers with a different set of tools.
according to a recent story blog post (opens in new tab)DuckDuckGo’s objection stems largely from Google’s failure to require Chrome users’ permission before deploying new technology.
In a statement, DuckDuckGo said, “Despite the many public concerns about FLoC that have yet to be resolved, we are disappointed that Google is already enforcing FLoC without explicitly asking users to opt-in. doing.
“Nevertheless, we are committed and will continue to do our part to realize our vision of raising the standard of trust online.”
FLoC is currently in a Chrome-only trial period. Google hopes to extend this technology beyond its own web browser, but DuckDuckGo and other adversaries are likely to stand in the way.
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